Sunday evening we boarded the overnight train to Paris. It was sort of like taking the Orient Express only modernized. Our cabin was small and efficient. The bathroom was less than two square meters. Think airline restroom only one and a half times the size. To take a shower, you swung the sink over the toilet. To use the toilet, you swung the sink into to shower. It’s definitely a one-person room. The railway system in Europe is great: Efficient and smooth – none of the click and clack of the movies. We arrived in Paris at 9:00 AM, took a cab to the hotel and set out exploring the City of Paris. Whilst my foot is much better, long walking expeditions are still a bit problematic so we hit Notre Dame and the Louver before returning to the hotel for a nap prior to ascending the Eiffel Tower.
I had booked an evening tour of the Eiffel Tower in order to avoid the lines. I highly recommend taking a guided tour when visiting the tower. The cost more than outweighs the time spent waiting in line. The weather was overcast so the views were a bit limited but the view from the top was still spectacular. Two million people live within the city limits with another six million residents within the immediate surrounding areas for a total population of approximately eight million people: all seemingly driving through town at the same time. Traffic within the city is, well, congested to say the least.
Tuesday morning we decided to take one of those double-decked busses to see as much of the city as we could with the least amount of walking. We circled the city twice: First time to see what we wanted and the second time to get off and explore. It’s a great way to see a city when time is limited and/or if you have impaired walking abilities. Following the world-wind tour of Paris we took the Eurostar train from Paris to London, a 2 ½ hour ride. Back in London, we head for home tomorrow morning.
The following are highlights of the ride:
Countries visited: 8 – United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and France.
Languages spoken (some with less fluency than others): 5 – English, German, Czech (Please – “pro-sem”, Thank you – “Dee Kay”), Italian and French
Miles ridden on the motorbike: 2,094 miles (3,371 kilometers)
Passes ridden: 18
Highest pass ridden: Passo del Stevio at 2,757 meters (9,045 feet)
Greatest number of switchback corners encountered in one pass: 48
Fun factor: Priceless